If you have the chance to get up to Indianapolis to see the exhibit, Ai Weiwei: According to What?, by all means go. Ai Wei Wei is considered by some to be the "world's most famous living artist," so it is quite a coup for the Indianapolis Museum of Art to have this exhibit. It is the first "full-scale American retrospective of his work," and Indianapolis is the furthest point west to which the show will travel before heading to Toronto, Miami, and New York.
If you read many fiber art/art blogs, you may have come across Kathy Loomis's blog, Art with a Needle. She mentioned Ai Weiwei's work here. If you check out that blog post, you will see Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds (100 million hand painted porcelain seeds). At the Indianapolis exhibit, He Xie is a similar exhibit. He xie literally means "river crab," but it is also a homophone for the word meaning "harmonious," which is used by in the Chinese Communist Party slogan "the realization of a harmonious society." It is made up of 3,200 porcelain hand painted crabs.
I spoke to one of the guys "guarding" the exhibit and told him about Kathy mentioning the Sunflower Seed exhibit. I found his comment to be pretty funny. He said, "Yeah, they got sunflower seeds; we got crabs!"
The most touching part of the exhibit for me was the "Wenchuan Steel Rebar (Straight)" and the "Names of the Student Earthquake Victims found by the Citizens Investigation" exhibit. The description at the exhibit says, "In Straight, Ai Weiwei used rebar recovered from the rubble of collapsed schoolhouses in Sichuan following the 2008 earthquake. The artist staightened each section of mangled rebar through a laborious process that required the assistance of many. The work serves as a reminder of the repercussions of the earthquake and expresses the artist's concern over society's ability to start afresh "almost as if nothing had happened." The orderly arrangement of rebar evokes a Minimalist artistic aesthetic, but the large divide in the piece is reminiscent of both a ground fissure and of a gulf between values. It is a massive, physical work, designed to remind the viewer of the individuals in danger of being forgotten."